'What ifs' in A Song of Ice and Fire

SR Binkley

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So this is something I've thought about from time to time with ASOIF. What are some of your favorite 'what it' scenarios ie events that could have gone a different direction and had a strong impact on the story. I think this can be a useful exercise if anyone is into ASOIF fan-fiction.

Some of mine are below:

If Renly Baratheon hadn't been killed by the shadow?

If Robb Stark had never married Jeyne Westerling?

If Ned Stark had taken Renly's offer of men and support against Cersei?

If Theon Greyjoy had remained loyal to Winterfell?

Feel free to share or discuss your favorite 'what ifs?' or talk about any of the scenarios I listed.
 

Koopa

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What if Hot Pie was not the savior of the realm! Westeros would really be in trouble then.
 

Anushka Mokosh

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Hmmm, maybe maybe not. There's a chance Tywin would have still gone to war only Nednqould have Cersei and Joffrey captive.
There would be nothing for Tywin to do. Ned would have all the proof he needs [book, Edric Storm, Gendry] and would hold Joffrey, Cersei, Tommen, and Myrcella. Going to war would be pointless. They were lost already and he had nothing to profit from there. Tywin would be more worried about keeping whatever power he could keep by casting them off and looking for a way to pardon Jaime which would likely be possible if Renly wanted to make such an alliance with Westerlands just to keep peace (which is indeed in his character being bronze and all). North, Stormlands, and the Reach standing against Tywin with Dorne and the Vale keeping themselves out of conflict at best and Dorne joining the rest to exact vengeance against Tywin and his vassals for Elia at worst. Tywin would be alone and no match for the rest. Even Greyjoys would be his enemies since Starks would still hold Theon hostage. He'd have no actual claimant to the throne and therefore, he'd have nothing to go to war for.
 

Boaz

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Agreed, Anushka. The only way Tywin fights is if Baelish still backs Cersei when he knows Renly and Eddard are in cahoots... and I think Baelish probably would not have opposed a Stark, Tyrell, Baratheon, and Tully alliance on his own. He had the means to keep the Arryn's out of the war, but not to get them in it on his (and the Lannisters side).

Ahhhh.... What ifs?
 

Anushka Mokosh

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Agreed, Anushka. The only way Tywin fights is if Baelish still backs Cersei when he knows Renly and Eddard are in cahoots... and I think Baelish probably would not have opposed a Stark, Tyrell, Baratheon, and Tully alliance on his own. He had the means to keep the Arryn's out of the war, but not to get them in it on his (and the Lannisters side).

Ahhhh.... What ifs?
Baelish likes chaos if he can profit from the chaos. To side with Tywin would be to cut off all his possibilities of profit with the stronger fraction. The only player here who possibly has enough power and interest to get involved with Tywin would be perhaps Varys who could smuggle Cersei out, but even then, the key factor is that Starks and Stormlands plus Riverlands and the Reach are in this together and not in opposition to each other with Greyjoys being forced to participate on their side and even Lysa perhaps being forced to send at least the bare minimum. Tywin simply doesn't have the power and he'd see that himself thus rendering any options Varys and Baelish employ rather useless. The power ratio of fractions involved tilts too heavily in one side now as opposed to the actual, non-whatif situation so Varys and Baelish can't really do much to mess it up since the only people not in this great alliance are those who won't ally themselves to each other.

Stannis would still be there as well
Wouldn't be a factor so much. He'd never ally with Tywin because Stannis would be looking to take down Lannisters even more and their goals would clash too much. Vale wouldn't ally with Stannis as Lysa doesn't want Sweet Robin to be taken and Stannis would be attempting to honour the deal he had with Jon Arryn. Furthermore, he'd never get part of Renly's host under his power and it would be far more difficult for him to gain allies in comparison since one fraction that is so big would attract other fractions. With Tywin silent since he really can't do anything and wouldn't be stupid enough to do so when under Stannis he can't even hope for weathering it out and keeping Jaime alive, Stannis would stand alone. Even Melisandre wouldn't be able to help him that much. Not to mention that Eddard would be much more successful at a parley between the brothers than Catelyn could ever hope to be. Stannis might at best hope he'd get Storm's End and Stormlands and he'd grow more bitter than ever, but ultimately unable to do anything. If Eddard really pressed Stannis and Renly both (since we already assume this is a much "savvier" Eddard), perhaps Stannis would even become the king, but with Renly being named the heir instead of Shireen since there are enough precedents for that in their history where some people were skipped due to illness of different kinds.
 

Koopa

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stannis and tywin don't need to be allies to be bad news for the stark-tyrell alliance. However with the majority of the Stormlands, all of the Reach (approx. 100000 men) + the aid of Eddard and his wolves. The sheer force is probably too much for anyone too contend with. Especially when you keep in mind that Robb never lost a single battle. Though Bolton did lose one on his behave, and one on purpose after he had betrayed Robb.
 

Anushka Mokosh

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stannis and tywin don't need to be allies to be bad news for the stark-tyrell alliance. However with the majority of the Stormlands, all of the Reach (approx. 100000 men) + the aid of Eddard and his wolves. The sheer force is probably too much for anyone too contend with. Especially when you keep in mind that Robb never lost a single battle. Though Bolton did lose one on his behave, and one on purpose after he had betrayed Robb.
The point is however that Tywin won't be trouble. He knows he can't go up against that sheer force. He'll weather it out. Stannis on his own can't be bad news if nobody else is against the alliance.
 

Judderman

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If Renly Baratheon hadn't been killed by the shadow?

If Theon Greyjoy had remained loyal to Winterfell?
1. Then Renly would have fought Stannis. Probably he would have won but then perhaps suffered a similar defeat at Blackwater to the Lannisters unless his victory over Stannis brought him even more support first. He wouldn't be wanting to protect the wall so the Wildings would have broken through.

2. Hmm, well some key Stark staff would have survived but would it affect the war much? Maybe others would have been less willing to go against the Starks. The Stark boys may not have gone north at that point.
 

Narkalui

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"What if Edmure had stuck to the plan instead of trying to be a hero?"

I've considered this one before: Tywin would have faced Robb in battle on a field which favoured the North. Let's assume Robb won. Tywin is captured and his army annihilated.

Stannis takes Kingslanding, I think because Mace Tyrell would not have marched against him in spite of Sir Loras demanding revenge. Mace Tyrell, I think, would have bent his knee to Stannis and then possibly tried to emplore Stannis to try peace tells with the North. Stannis may have given Robb one chance to bend the knee and I can't see Robb backing down from his demand of independence for the North and the Riverlands, leading to a continuation of hostilities between the The Northern Faction and The Stannis Faction including the Stormlands and the Reach.

Sir Loras Tyrell, I'm less sure of this, may then have gone by himself to serve King Robb. Tyrion may well have bent the knee to Stannis in exchange for Wardenship of the Westerlands in spite of Tywin's continued existence in Northern captivity.

Unfortunately I can still see Robb marrying Jayne Westerling and thusly the Red Wedding still occurring, probably meaning Tywin's transference to Tyrion's custody and possible release IF he bends the knee to Stannis and acknowledges Tyrion as his heir. A BIG if!

Good news for Sansa. I think her most likely destiny under these circumstances is marriage to Willas Tyrell.

Bad news for Jon Snow. After taking the throne, I don't really see Stannis sending men to Castle Black. Unless Davos still became his hand. Maybe.

Now, if preparing for battle with Tywin prevented Robb from marrying Jayne, we are left with a completely different kettle of fish. Stannis and Robb would have fought a battle, and if Robb were to win this one I think we'd have King Robb Stark First of his name, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms etc etc etc. And in that scenario it probably ends with Robb Stark being bathed in Drogon's flames. Toasted Stark. :(
 

Narkalui

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Here's one: Dune-ify SOIAF!

Robb Stark is rescued from the Red Wedding by someone who has fetched Ice from Kingslanding, he flees North beyond the wall and rallies a small band of Wildlings to his cause and then wages a guerrilla war against the Others. He is joined by Jon Snow after Jon's resurrection by Melisandre and with their Valyrian swords and combustibles (whale oil perhaps?) they utterly defeat the Others. Then they turn South just as Danearys lands in Westeros, raise her banner, defeat Lord Bolton as the entire North rallies to them and then completely smash The Lannisters. Who should marry Dany, Robb or Jon? Hmmm...
 

Eversummer

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Here's one: Dune-ify SOIAF!

Robb Stark is rescued from the Red Wedding by someone who has fetched Ice from Kingslanding, he flees North beyond the wall and rallies a small band of Wildlings to his cause and then wages a guerrilla war against the Others. He is joined by Jon Snow after Jon's resurrection by Melisandre and with their Valyrian swords and combustibles (whale oil perhaps?) they utterly defeat the Others. Then they turn South just as Danearys lands in Westeros, raise her banner, defeat Lord Bolton as the entire North rallies to them and then completely smash The Lannisters. Who should marry Dany, Robb or Jon? Hmmm...
Most likely Robb. XD

What if Tyrion Lannister is of normal height and not a dwarf?
 

Anushka Mokosh

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Most likely Robb. XD

What if Tyrion Lannister is of normal height and not a dwarf?
That depends on the nature/nurture argument. Providing that everything (mainly his intellect and other abilities) but dwarfness and closely related relationships impacted by it is same, GG rest of Westeros houses. He'd have a better relationship with Tywin. Tywin would have a Genius son he always desired and Tywin&Tyrion in cohorts would wreck all else. Tysha would never have happened. Tywin wouldn't give as many fudges for Jaime being invited into Kingsguard. He'd probably be relieved.
 

Koopa

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what if Ned had properly played the game of thrones...
I saw another poster above mention him taking Renly's offer, but really he need not even have done so if he did everything else right.
 

Koopa

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Raise his workforce (He should have had a bigger Stark host with him from the beginning), and the banners of House Stark, make proper contact with the elder Baratheon borthers (Robert and Stannis). Seek out allies your certain off (Riverrun by marriage).
--> all of this as secret and as quick as possible

When properly ready detain the bastard children whilst arresting Jaime and Cersei. That way you have enough manpower so that the goldcloaks can easily be dealt with in case they prove traitorous. If Robert still lives Renly's ambition is stuck. Thus retaining the Stormlands and the Reach their loyalty. Even if Robert is dead, the Stormlands will be somewhat fractured between Stannis and Renly, and the crownlands will probably remain loyal to the throne. Meaning Renly can be dealt/bargained with. Tywin has the Lannister army, but against a ready Stark and Tully host he won't get far. That leaves the Lysa Tully and littlefinger combo. But Lysa won't dare to commit so Littlefinger will only be able to do so much behind Ned's back.

Basically it all went fubar for Ned, the moment he decided to have his conversation with Cersei before he had all his pieces properly in place. he was too certain he had the situation under control given the people he was working with. Too few men of certain loyalty. He should have been more wary of all the pitfalls given the gravity of the situation.
 
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